Background: People who live in rural Appalachia experience a wide variety of problems when seeking access to health care. Health care disparities continue to be one of the most complex and prevalent problems, and many barriers exist for impoverished men and women such as a lack of education, complications with health insurance, and personal distrust of healthcare providers.

Purpose: A critical gap in the literature is the unheard voice of persons in rural underserved areas. The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of persons in rural Appalachia who seek healthcare services at free episodic health care clinics, a common alternative source of care.

Methods: In Fall 2017, a qualitative approach was used to discover the perceptions of 12 men and women in rural Appalachia who were seeking medical care at a Remote Area Medical Clinic. A transdisciplinary research group provided insight and assistance with thematic analysis in Spring 2018–Spring 2019.

Results: Five overall themes emerged capturing the essence of how rural Appalachians view the experience of seeking healthcare, which include difficulties with insurance/finances, inconsistency in care, isolation in rural areas, seeking solutions, and need to feel valued.

Implications: A rich description of participant experiences portrays real-life complexities for Appalachian men and women who seek healthcare. Understanding the perceptions of persons who seek healthcare and the essence of their experiences is the first step in determining future sustainable solutions for social justice.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Recommended Citation

Lazar M, Thomas S, Davenport L. Seeking care at free episodic health care clinics in Appalachia. J Appalach Health 2020;2(2):67–79. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13023/jah.0202.07.